- Report Published -
|Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth 2012 Annual Report|
|Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth|
|I am pleased to report to you that the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth helped cut high school smoking in Virginia by more than 50 percent in the last 10 years!|
According to the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s most recent Virginia Youth Tobacco Survey, just 13 percent of high school students are regular smokers. That’s down from 28.6% when we started our work in 2001. And the number of middle school smokers has dropped by more than 65 percent over the same period!
Because of our great success at teaching young people to make healthy choices, and because tobacco use and obesity are the two leading causes of preventable deaths, the General Assembly gave VFHY the added mission of childhood obesity prevention in 2009.
In our third year of working on childhood obesity, VFHY helped forge and support sustainable community coalitions to address childhood obesity on the local level, funding 21 Healthy Communities Action Teams (HCAT) grantees. These grantees are implementing local childhood obesity prevention strategies such as establishing farmers’ markets to increase community access to fresh produce; increasing physical activity in children enrolled in after-school programs; creating and maintaining community gardens; and establishing safe, neighborhood playgrounds.
While we are seeing some early improvement in Virginia and across the nation, the childhood obesity epidemic remains a major public health and safety issue.
Obesity is the leading cause for Army volunteers to be rejected for service. And sadly, because of projected obesity rates, this generation may be the first in U.S. history with a shorter life expectancies than their parents, according to studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
By reducing and preventing youth tobacco use and childhood obesity, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth aims to make a great impact on the health of Virginia’s children, teaching them to make healthy choices to last their entire lives.
/s/ Marty H. Kilgore
Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth